Sussex construction firm fined over employee hand injuries

The owners of the GJ Bream & Son Ltd joinery workshop near Bury St Edmunds in Sussex have been fined more than £10,000 after a worker cut off his finger and thumb using a piece of machinery.

The victim of the accident was 24-year-old bench joiner David Head, who was shaping a timber piece at the Chevington workshop when it became caught in the cutter he was using. Mr Head’s left hand was dragged into the blades of the machine, resulting in his index finger and thumb being cut off and the remaining fingers also sustaining injuries.

Surgeons have been able to reattach Mr Head’s missing digits, but he will not be able to regain full use of them.

Following a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation, it was found that the firm had breached the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company did this by failing to assess risks and implement the right health and safety training for workers performing dangerous tasks, as well as failing to supervise employees properly and provide them with the right equipment.

GJ Bream & Son Ltd was fined £10,000 for these breaches and ordered to pay a total of £4,026 in court costs. Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Ivan Brooke said:

“Incidents like this are entirely preventable with the right training, supervision and equipment. HSE will always look to take action against employers who break the law by failing to put these measures in place.”